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Old 29th August 2013, 00:03   #1
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Default Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Hello everyone,

I'm planning to go to Gangtok in the month of January so I have few doubts, so please help me clear them and also if I can know which route is better would be really helpful. There are chances that I may not go by car to Gangtok from Bilaspur, but there are more chances that I'll go to Sikkim and would like to first reach Darjeeling on 11 January either by car of by flight.

Some background, I'm living in Bangalore and I'll be going to Bilaspur in the month of October and would be staying there till mid of November, so I'm planning to leave the car there and come back by train to Bangalore as then in January I can reach Bilaspur and take all my friends to go to Gangtok and then to Kolkata where we all have to attend a marriage of our friend.

Q1. Is it a good time for us to travel to Gangtok and then to Nathu-La in the month of January? Will we be even able to reach there with my trusted Duster?

I still have to go through all the travelogues to Sikkim, to find out what all I need to take care of while traveling in that part of India.

Route decided along with initial travel plan

Day 1: Start from Bilaspur as early as possible, I prefer starting around 3-3:30 am. And reach Purnia by end of day. Route:
Bilaspur - Katghora - Ambikapur - Aurangabad - Gaya - Nawada - Khagaria - Purnia

Distance - 928 km

I don't mind if I've to stop in Khagaria in case we are stuck somewhere in between. As distance from Khagaria to Darjeeling is only 360 km so, if I start in the morning I can reach Darjeeling by afternoon.

Day 2: Reach Darjeeling by afternoon and stay in Sterling resorts(for which I am a member) and spend my day around.

Day 3: Darjeeling sight seeing - I still have to explore the options.

Day 4: Darjeeling to Gangtok
i. Accomodation at Sterling
ii. Get the pass for Nathu-La

Day 5: Gangtok - Nathu-La - Gangtok

Day 6: Gangtok local sight seeing - options still to explore

Day 7: Gangtok - Siliguri

Day 8: Siliguri - Kolkata
Route: Siliguri - Kishanganj - Dalkhola - Raiganj - Tildanga - Bardhaman - Kolkata

Total Distance around 600 km

Day 9: Attend marriage

Day 10: Kolkata to Vizag
Route: Kolkata - kharagpur - Lakshmannath - Bhadrak - Bhubhaneswar - Bhramapur - Srikakulam - Vizag

Total Distance: 900 Km

Day 11: Vizag to Bangalore
Route: Vizag - Tuni - Nidadvolu - Vijayawada - Guntur - Nellore - Tirupati - Chittoor - Bangalore

Total Distance: 1100 Km

So, I just want a rough idea whether this is possible or not. And if there are any suggestions about the plans which I have would be really helpful.

Thanks,
-Pallav
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Old 30th August 2013, 16:37   #2
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Please bear in mind that entire Central & North India, including MP, UP, BR, JH will have heavy fog during this period and you will not be able to make any great speeds.

Day 1 looks virtually impossible even with clear weather since you have to travel on 2-laned roads & there are no bypasses in smaller towns of BR.

Reaching Darjeeling by afternoon from Khagaria is not possible, it will be a full day drive.

Going to Nathu la - expect to face disruption due to snowfall/ road blockades.

Considering the almost-permanent bad condition of NH34, it may be a better idea to avoid Raiganj/Malda and take the Dalkola-Purnea-Bhagalpur-Dumka route to Calcutta. It will be a 12-15 hour drive from Siliguri.
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Old 30th August 2013, 16:51   #3
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

That's really packed schedule I would. I would say look at it in 3-4 parts.

1 Bilaspur to Sikkim/Darjeeling.
2. Sight seeing
3. Return to Calcutta
4. Drive back to Bangalore.


I don't know ground conditions of Bilaspur to Sikkim road. Will go with what HVK says. But picture this: A beautiful 4-lane road from Bangalore to Pune takes about 12 hours for 900km. With the condition that you would be going sightseeing, I think you should break it to 2 days.

Regards to Sikkim/Darjeeling sightseeing:
Are you looking at North Sikkim. Peling etc Might worth spending a day out there. But having said that Jan should be quite cold and full of mist (as HVK said). So can't say what all you can see. Also thoughts to visit Kalimpong ?


I think Calcutta-BLR is a done deal. GQ roads and many cam help with conditions. There are enough logs out there which you can go through.

Last edited by moralfibre : 31st August 2013 at 09:41.
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Old 30th August 2013, 17:28   #4
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Do keep in mind that the agitation for a separate Indian state of Gorkhaland has begun after Telengana was announced. The strike has been in force for over a month now. Due to this the Highway linking Sikkim has been severely affected to traffic. I am hopeful that things should improve by January, but none the less do keep your eyes and ears open around then for any unrest.

Also you were asking, You should be able to reach Gangtok without any issues in your duster. But going from Gangtok to Nathu-La in your private vehicle will be very very difficult due to the Local taxi syndicate in Gangtok. Its impossible to get the necessary permits unless you can pull some strings. As mentioned above, it will be peak winter so be prepared for Nathu-La to be closed due to heavy snow on certain days. On top of that speaking from experience, January tends to be the coldest month here in Darjeeling and Sikkim, with Lots of snow in the Mountainous region.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 20:49   #5
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Please bear in mind that entire Central & North India, including MP, UP, BR, JH will have heavy fog during this period and you will not be able to make any great speeds.

Day 1 looks virtually impossible even with clear weather since you have to travel on 2-laned roads & there are no bypasses in smaller towns of BR.

Reaching Darjeeling by afternoon from Khagaria is not possible, it will be a full day drive.

Going to Nathu la - expect to face disruption due to snowfall/ road blockades.

Considering the almost-permanent bad condition of NH34, it may be a better idea to avoid Raiganj/Malda and take the Dalkola-Purnea-Bhagalpur-Dumka route to Calcutta. It will be a 12-15 hour drive from Siliguri.
Thanks hvk sir, I know not many here in the forum might be aware of the road conditions as the route from Bilaspur to Gangtok is probably not travelled much by the forum members, and when I didn't got any response for few days, I was just waiting for your response. And there it is, first response came from you. So, thanks a lot for your suggestions. And after that I am thinking to make slight adjustments to my plan.

Yes, I completely forgot that During January there might be heavy fog in the areas where I will be travelling, so I wont be able to travel as much as I had thought of. And considering that I will probably extend by stay by one more day.

Day 1: Will try to cover as much as I can and if possible will try for Khagaria and if not possible then will halt in Nawada or Begusarai, depending on where I am till evening.

Day 2: Will try to reach Darjeeling by evening, just have one question, will I be able to cover around 500 km on day 2, if I say start from Nawada for Darjeeling?

Rest of the itinerary is same as of now, And yes, will change the route from Darjeeling to Kolkata as you have mentioned to

Siliguri - Dalkhola - Purnia - Bhagalpur - Dumka - Suri - Bardhaman - Kolkata.

I have one question, Is it safe if I try to cover this route in the early hours time. As I prefer starting early around 2-3 AM, is this route safe? As I'm not aware if that route is affected by Naxals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
That's really packed schedule I would. I would say look at it in 3-4 parts.

1 Bilaspur to Sikkim/Darjeeling.
2. Sight seeing
3. Return to Calcutta
4. Drive back to Bangalore.


I don't know ground conditions of Bilaspur to Sikkim road. Will go with what HVK says. But picture this: A beautiful 4-lane road from Bangalore to Pune takes about 12 hours for 900km. With the condition that you would be going sightseeing, I think you should break it to 2 days.

Regards to Sikkim/Darjeeling sightseeing:
Are you looking at North Sikkim. Peling etc Might worth spending a day out there. But having said that Jan should be quite cold and full of mist (as HVK said). So can't say what all you can see. Also thoughts to visit Kalimpong ?

I think Calcutta-BLR is a done deal. GQ roads and many cam help with conditions. There are enough logs out there which you can go through.
Thanks Ampere for your suggestions. I am planning to extend my tour by one more day, so will try to reach Darjeeling in two days from Bilaspur, and then will start the sightseeing.

I am still exploring the options of what to see and what not, I'll update the thread once I get a little free from my office work. I don't mind if its cold, I have been to a temp around -15 -20 C, but yes not because of altitude rather because it was more towards North Pole, so the conditions might still be quite different. I went through one thread for Gantok by Debuda, and found few more places, and since he also went almost around the same time, if time permits I may also try to cover those places.

Yes, I also think Kolkata-Bangalore roads should be much better, as I recently traveled on GQ but on the opposite direction rather, i.e. from Bangalore to Mumbai and the roads were just awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amrisharm View Post
Do keep in mind that the agitation for a separate Indian state of Gorkhaland has begun after Telengana was announced. The strike has been in force for over a month now. Due to this the Highway linking Sikkim has been severely affected to traffic. I am hopeful that things should improve by January, but none the less do keep your eyes and ears open around then for any unrest.

Also you were asking, You should be able to reach Gangtok without any issues in your duster. But going from Gangtok to Nathu-La in your private vehicle will be very very difficult due to the Local taxi syndicate in Gangtok. Its impossible to get the necessary permits unless you can pull some strings. As mentioned above, it will be peak winter so be prepared for Nathu-La to be closed due to heavy snow on certain days. On top of that speaking from experience, January tends to be the coldest month here in Darjeeling and Sikkim, with Lots of snow in the Mountainous region.
Thanks amrisharm for your valuable comments. I did read about the demand for new state 'Gorkhaland' and their was lot of protests around that. I will surely keep an eye on that, and in case there are any such issues then will just go to Kolkata from Bilaspur and then to Bangalore. I read a travelogue from debuda where he went with his XUV all the way to Nathu-la, will also take his advice on how to get the permit and all.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 21:33   #6
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Quote:
Originally Posted by gurha View Post

Day 1: Will try to cover as much as I can and if possible will try for Khagaria and if not possible then will halt in Nawada or Begusarai, depending on where I am till evening.
I would try to target either Bhagalpur or Purnea which have good hotels.


Quote:
Day 2: Will try to reach Darjeeling by evening, just have one question, will I be able to cover around 500 km on day 2, if I say start from Nawada for Darjeeling?
You can reach Siliguri fast once you connect with the 4-laner at Muzaffarpur or Purnea.


Quote:
Rest of the itinerary is same as of now, And yes, will change the route from Darjeeling to Kolkata as you have mentioned to

Siliguri - Dalkhola - Purnia - Bhagalpur - Dumka - Suri - Bardhaman - Kolkata.

I have one question, Is it safe if I try to cover this route in the early hours time. As I prefer starting early around 2-3 AM, is this route safe? As I'm not aware if that route is affected by Naxals?
This route does have civil agitations, but generally free from any Naxal menace on the roads. Very lonely roads, it is best to travel by day.
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Old 4th September 2013, 14:14   #7
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Quote:
Originally Posted by gurha View Post


Thanks amrisharm for your valuable comments. I did read about the demand for new state 'Gorkhaland' and their was lot of protests around that. I will surely keep an eye on that, and in case there are any such issues then will just go to Kolkata from Bilaspur and then to Bangalore. I read a travelogue from debuda where he went with his XUV all the way to Nathu-la, will also take his advice on how to get the permit and all.
Hi there, I think I remember reading about the Black XUV driving up to Nathu-La. And if my memory serves me right, the lucky person is a retired Army man and hence the swift granting of permits.
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Old 4th September 2013, 14:47   #8
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

Quote:
Originally Posted by amrisharm View Post
Hi there, I think I remember reading about the Black XUV driving up to Nathu-La. And if my memory serves me right, the lucky person is a retired Army man and hence the swift granting of permits.
Hi amrisharm, Yeah he has a silver XUV. I know getting the pass won't be an easy task, I know few people in Army and will try my best to get the pass for Nathu-La otherwise local Taxi's are always there. .
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Old 4th September 2013, 15:22   #9
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

After going through few threads of Sikkim I've modified my plan and also mentioned the days as well, as there are few days when Nathu-La is closed, not sure about North Sikkim, hence entering the days so that in case its closed on someday I can still change my plan.


Day 1: (Saturday) Start from Bilaspur as early as possible, I prefer starting around 3-3:30 am. And reach Purnia by end of day. Route:
Bilaspur - Katghora - Ambikapur - Aurangabad - Gaya - Nawada - Khagaria - Purnia

Distance - 928 km

Will try to reach Purnia else will stay in Bhagalpur, as advised by hvk.

Day 2: (Sunday) Reach Darjeeling by afternoon and do some site seeing and relax for rest of the day.

Day 3: (Monday) Darjeeling - Pelling and do some site seeing and relax for the day

Day 4: (Tuesday) Pelling - Gangtok - site seeing and relax

I may still stay in Darjeeling on Day 3 and start for Gangtok on Day 4. And skip Pelling, @ampere, should I really see Pelling? As only after your comment I read about Pelling, and haven't really searched anything for Kalimpong, so still undecided.

Day 5: (Wednesday) Gangtok - Get the passes for North Sikkim and Nathu-La

Since the offices are closed on Monday and Tuesday, I can't go anywhere unless I have the passes. So, will get the passes and stay in Gangtok on Wednesday and start fresh for North Sikkim on Thursday.

Day 6: (Thursday) Gangtok - Lachen
Still to find a accomodation

Day 7: (Friday) Lachen - Gurudongmar Lake - Gangtok

Day 8: (Saturday) Gangtok - NathuLa - Dalkhola
Planning to start early on Saturday and since Nathula is opened on Saturday will go to NathuLa and after visiting NathuLa will start back for Kolkata, and planning to stay in Dalkhola.

Day 9: (Sunday) Dalkhola - Kolkata
Dalkhola - Purnia - Bhagalpur - Dumka - Kolkata

Day 10: (Monday) - Attend marriage in Kolkata

Day 10: Kolkata to Vizag
Route: Kolkata - kharagpur - Lakshmannath - Bhadrak - Bhubhaneswar - Bhramapur - Srikakulam - Vizag

Total Distance: 900 Km

Day 11: Vizag to Bangalore
Route: Vizag - Tuni - Nidadvolu - Vijayawada - Guntur - Nellore - Tirupati - Chittoor - Bangalore

Total Distance: 1100 Km

Please, let me know if the above plan is fine or not and whether North sikkim is open all seven days, unlike NathuLa which is opened only on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
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Old 24th December 2013, 13:12   #10
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Default Re: Bilaspur - Sikkim - Kolkata - Bangalore Route query

As the days are getting nearer excitement to this is increasing day by day, and waiting to see what is there for me in my life in the next 30 days. If everything goes fine, I should've reached Bangalore on Jan 22nd night. But, as I'm getting closer to the dates there are lot of questions which I'm having and would be great if someone can answer those.

1. I know that Nathu-la is closed on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, but can I get the passes(if I manage to) for Nathu-la and North-Sikkim any day of the week? I will be reaching Gangtok(with the new plan, more details below) on Monday morning, will try to reach there as early as possible, but I guess will reach around 11AM -12 PM, the office I guess is open till 2PM, so is it possible to get the pass on the same day or I have one more day i.e. Tuesday so I can try from morning on Tuesday, any suggestions?

After going through few portals online, I saw that there are very few people who managed to get the pass for self drive and there was a post of adc, somewhere online where he has mentioned a way to get the pass, posting it here to so that others can also be benefited, not sure if that's present in the forum anywhere, I'm sorry if I'm pasting it here again, but couldn't read in the entire 10 pages of his trip to North-Sikkim.

#########

Easy Way:
Permits are given at the Permit Office, a building just below the overbridge at the start of the MG road.

You can get permit forms from a xerox shop down below near the overbridge or can ask the numerous taxi fellows standing for permit form shop.

And then on filling it up just stand in front of the Sikkim Police permit window and thrust it to the person sitting on the other side. Let him and your luck decide then.

I was there for standing in a such a way, not in front of him but in a sideways so that everytime picks up his head, he sees me.

When my application came up from scrutiny, he and another senior fellow asked about whether I was the driver and owner [showed registration], with the application gave a biodata of my travels, [The safari VTT by that time had done some audacious journeys], me, wife and the child the only passengers proving that we are private tourists and thus not a big party, attached a couple of photos, and seeing a Safari may be also [though this can be doubted!], and voila he believed me to the hilt [of course whatever showed was true!] and gave me the permits, first day for the Tsongmo Lake and again next day he sees me standing and gives me the permit for complete North Sikkim.

Now this is easiest single window clearance, took around 2-3 hours both time [for Tsongmo and North Sikkim] neither I had to go to the Secretariat or the Main Police Station or meet any bureaucrat. If you are declined over here, you have to follow this roundabout torturous way.


Tough Way:

The other roundabout, most torturous way as it seems

read it over here

http://forum.60kph.com/viewtopic.php...asc&highlight=

For summary of the above link, for the roundabout way you would have to go through
1. Army: Colonel Anand Mehrotra GSO (Int.) HQ, 17 Mountain Division, c/o 99 APO, Deorali, Gangtok.
2. Police: IGP Checkpost, Sikkim Police, Gangtok.
3. District Collector, North (Mangan).
4. Sub District Magistrate, Chungthung, North Sikkim.

Though the link above is not working any more.

#########

On my return, I'll be updating what are the current situations.

2. I'm planning to travel to North-Sikkim on Wednesday by my car, in case I get the pass. I'm planning to stay in Lachen, is anyone aware of any hotel in Lachen, I couldn't find any online

3. Since I'll be staying all night in Lachen, do I need to put any anti-freeze in the radiator of my car to not let the water freeze or anywhere else? Also, is there any thing which I can mix in diesel, so that my diesel doesn't get jelled up?

4. In case if I don't get permission to drive my car on the hills in Gangtok, can't I hire a driver in gangtok who is aware of the road conditions there and get the pass for North-Sikkim and Nathu-la?

New plan:
----------------------
Day 1(12/1/14): (Sunday) Start from Bilaspur as early as possible, I prefer starting around 3-3:30 am. And reach Purnia by end of day. Route:
Bilaspur - Katghora - Ambikapur - Aurangabad - Gaya - Nawada - Khagaria - Purnia

Distance - 928 km

Will try to reach Purnia else will stay in Bhagalpur, as advised by hvk.

Day 2(13/1/14): (Monday) Reach Gangtok by noon at max and go straight to permit office and try to get the permits, Stay at Sterling Delisso Abode

Day 3(14/1/14): (Tuesday) Gangtok - site seeing and relax, Stay at Sterling Delisso Abode

Day 4(15/1/14): (Wednesday) Gangtok - Lachen, Stay at Lachen

Day 5(16/1/14): (Thursday) Lachen - Gurudongmar Lake - Lachung, Stay at Hotel Tashi Yankhil Lachung

Day 6(17/1/14): (Friday) Lachung - Yumthang Valley - Zero Point - Gantok
Stay at Sterling Delisso Abode, Gangtok

Day 7
(18/1/14): (Saturday) Gangtok - Nathula - Dalkhola, Stay at Dalkhola

Day 8(19/1/14): (Sunday) Dalkhola to Durgapur
Dalkhola - Purnia - Bhagalpur - Dumka - Durgapur

Day 9(20/1/14): (Monday) - Attend marriage

Day 10(21/1/14): Durgapur to Rajahmundry
Route: Durgapur - kharagpur - Lakshmannath - Bhadrak - Bhubhaneswar - Behramapur - Srikakulam - Vizag - Tuni - Nidadvolu - Vijayawada - Rajahmundry

Total Distance: 1080 Km

Day 11(22/1/14): Rajahmundry to Bangalore
Route: Rajahmundry - Guntur - Nellore - Tirupati - Chittoor - Bangalore

Total Distance: 820 Km

I know the itinerary is bit tight, but will cut-off few things if there are any issues.
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